As an SME business owner, it might be a little confusing – should you invest in a website? or a mobile app?
A few years ago, I remember feeling puzzled when I was discussing project requirements with an SME business owner. The requirements were simple – he wanted an e-commerce to sell his products.
The functionalities were standard: product listing, product details and checkout pages. Nothing puzzling. Except for the fact that he did not have any website for his business and yet he was adamant on creating this e-commerce as a mobile app!
If you are an SME business owner in a similar situation. Let us take a look at why I was puzzled. And why you should invest in a website first before even considering a mobile app.
The Difference of Website & Mobile App
With current technologies, a website is not much different than a mobile app. For the most part, whatever a mobile app can do, a website also can. The only difference is that mobile apps have access to more hardware like camera, GPS, accelerometer, and compass.
If your SME needs functionalities like scanning barcodes or actively tracking user location, then a mobile app is the way to go. However, if all you need are standard functions like displaying data, capturing user information, and storing information on the database, then a website is all you need!
Most of the business owners I have spoken to are fascinated by the statistics of mobile users. Like this for example – By 2025, 72% of all internet users will be mobile users. And solely because of these stats, they are adamant in having a mobile app instead of a website.
My friends, this is absolutely incorrect. A website can and should be responsive. Meaning that the design of the website changes depending on what device you are using. If you are viewing a responsive website on a mobile phone, the site will change itself to look like and function like a mobile app.
What about the Cost?
The cost of developing a website and a mobile app vary greatly. From my experience, a standard E-Commerce website costs about RM8,000. Whereas the cost to develop an E-Commerce mobile app costs about RM120,000. That’s more than 10x the amount for very similar capabilities.
The price difference sounds crazy but it’s actually justifiable. You see, for website development, excellent and popular templates such as WordPress already exist.
Using WordPress, a developer does not need to build a website from scratch. Thus, saving roughly 70% of the time it would have needed if built from scratch.
Mobile apps on the other hand do not have such templates. To build a mobile app, a developer must design and build everything from scratch. This includes UI design, system design and database designs.
Furthermore, when building a mobile app, 99% of the time a backend server must also be built to handle and save user data used in the mobile app. This means the developer must build both the mobile app and also the backend server.
Sounds complex? This only scratches the surface of mobile app development. There are many more factors to consider: server deployment, monitoring, high available setup, and more.
Monthly Cost – Website vs Mobile App
The ongoing cost to run a website and mobile also varies greatly. A website needs much fewer resources to run and most of them are already bundled at a single price by the WordPress hosting providers. A mobile app, however, will need many more resources to run and they have to be set up manually.
In summary, a basic website is estimated to cost RM 409/mth. Whereas a basic mobile app is estimated to cost RM 2313/mth. Do note that this is the minimal setup required for a mobile app. If you have more users, you will require a more powerful server. Thus, costing more.
The references to these prices will be linked at the end of this article.
Website Monthly Cost
Cost / Month
Make your website available to the internet.
Address for your website.
Website Maintenance is required to keep your sites updated and secured.
Mobile App Monthly Cost
Cost / Month
Make your mobile app backend server to be available to the internet.
Cost to rent a database.
To ensure availability. If your server crashes, your users won’t be impacte.
Static Files Hosting
Used to make your static assets like images available to the internet.
Google Developer Account
Required to publish your app in Google Play Store.
Apple Developer Account
Required to publish your app in Apple App Store.
This is standard in every mobile app development. Price is based on Kovique’s maintenance fee.
Total does not include Google Developer Account because its 1 time payment.
Investing in a Website vs Mobile App
I believe you should invest in a business website as soon as possible. A business website allows you to jump into digital marketing quickly and expose your business to a much wider audience. Here’s an article explaining why your business absolutely needs a website.
Look into investing in a mobile app if you absolutely need to rely on the device features like camera or GPS. If you are still at the early stage of your business, investing in a website first is almost always the right choice.
Aside from the huge cost difference, getting your customers to download and install your app takes much more effort.
In this small writeup, I have explained how you should most likely invest in a business website instead of a mobile app. The cost difference is massive and a website could probably do most of the features a mobile app can.
If your business is in need of a website, we at Kovique specializes in crafting you a modern business website that generates sales. Reach out to us through the contact form below. Thanks for reading!